Prairie brake upgrade

Converting your ET/EXA front Solid Disks to Vented Prairie Disks.

Brakes on the Pulsar ET and EXA Turbo’s are well known to be far from excellent. 4 wheel disk is a step in the right direction, but the cars still struggle for brakes when pushed a little harder. Luckily for us the Nissan Prairie wagon utilises many similar parts to the N12 and one of those that are better is the front disk brake setup. The Praire’s use a vented disk rotor instead of the solid items found on our N12 Turbo’s. These vented rotors dissipate heat from the discs much quicker hence reducing brake fade which is quite common under hard braking.

This write-up will go step-by-step in explaining the process I undertook to change my standard ET’s front brake setup to the vented version.

Step 1.

Naturally you will need to get yourself a set of Prairie calipers and rotors from a wreckers or similar. Expect to pay about $100-$200 for the entire setup. In this case I also put some new pads in which were a further $40. Remember the standard ET brake pads will not fit these calipers so don’t expect to just change them over if the Prairie ones are dead. Also you will most likely need to give the calipers and rotors a good clean-up to remove grease and dirt. I fully disassembled my calipers, removed all rubber components and soaked them in an alloy de-oxidiser for a good hour or so to bring them back to life.

Step 2.

After removing the wheel, the next step is to remove the std n12 caliper by undoing the 2 x 17mm bolts at the back of the caliper. With these removed and the brake line clip on the strut removed, the caliper can gently be tapped off the rotor and stored behind the strut for now (as seen in attached photo).

Step 3.

Time to remove the locking cap and split pin from the driveshaft. After this it’s the fun job of removing the retaining nut from the driveshaft spline. If you have an air compressor and rattle gun you are pretty much set. If you don’t (like I was in this case) it is possible, but just more effort needed. In the associated picture you will see me using a 1 1/4 inch socked on a breaker bar. This is locked with a steel bar between the wheel studs to resist rotation of the rotor. use some wheel nuts on the stud to prevent thread damage. Using a hammer, hit the breaker bar until you ‘crack’ the lock between the nut and hub.

Step 4.

Ok with the lock nut off the driveshaft spline, the hub and rotor are ready to come off the knuckle. This is where a special ‘flywheel’ puller tool is usually required. I have heard some people have had problems with this part, but I was able to use a hammer to slowly knock the rotor off. Doing it this way however will dint the inside of the standard rotor, but I was not planning on using this ever again so I didn’t mind. Get a mate to help by rotating the disc slowly as you hit the inside of the disc where I have. This will give an even distribution of force. Slowly but surely the rotor will work its way off the spline. Once off be sure to keep the bearing assembly intact and clean.

Step 5.

Now split the wheel stud assembly from the rotor by removing the 4 x 12mm bolts on the inside of the rotor as pictured. Once this is completed you are ready to re-assemble with the new vented Prairie rotor in the same sequence as disassembled.

Step 6.

Place the vented rotor onto the knuckle/spline and by using the same technique as when removed, and tighten the 1 1/4 inch nut until the rotor has totally meshed with the knuckle. You wont be able to wobble the rotor around when it’s in place. Also re-greasing of the wheel bearings before assembly is good practice to help increase bearing life.

Step 7.

Re-bolt the new caliper to the knuckle as per disassembly, remembering that each rotor is marked left or right in the castings. When this is completed its time to attached the brake line to the new caliper. This is best done as quick as possible to reduce brake line spillage. After this is done it is very important to re-bleed the brakes doing the left side first.

The final product. Ensure you double check all the nuts and bolts before putting the wheel back on for peace of mind. Under heavy breaking you can really notice a difference. There is next to no fade from 85-90km/h to 0, and this was done 3 times in a row to bed the pads in.

NOTE: Remember to drive very cautiously until the pads are bedded in and also ensure the brake lines are properly bled. Remember brakes are a very important part of a vehicle and failure could result in injury or death so please be very sure you have carried out the conversion competently.

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